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Don Wales, UK speed record holder
"We need to get across to the public that electric cars are going to be part of the future"
 real 28k

Sunday, 18 June, 2000, 14:46 GMT 15:46 UK
Bluebird breaks speed record

The previous record was smashed
The grandson of Sir Malcolm Campbell has smashed the British land-speed record for an electrically-powered car.

Don Wales achieved 128mph in his car Bluebird Electric, beating the current record, which he also holds, of 116 mph.

Mr Wales, 39, made the run at the famous Pendine Sands in Carmarthenshire, west Wales, where his ancestor set three land-speed records in the 1920s.

Sir Malcolm Campbell
Sir Malcolm Campbell: Record-breaker
The photographer is also the nephew of Donald Campbell, who was killed in 1967 when his speedboat crashed on Coniston Water.

Father-of-two Mr Wales has spent the last nine years developing his dream and ploughed his own funds into the project.

"The Bluebird has no logos on it. We haven't had any sponsorship," he said.

"We have been knocked back by the British and foreign motor industries. They don't believe it will work but we will show them that it will."



Don Wales kept up a family tradition
Mr Wales, his small team, plus 35 volunteer helpers, have developed the engine at their base at RAF Brawdy in Pembrokeshire so that it could be used in nearly every production car on today's market.

The 21 feet long and four feet wide car weighs 800kgs. Its chassis is made of steel tubes and the blue bodywork is fibreglass.

Powered by two aircraft batteries positioned above the rear wheels, it has 125hp and can out-accelerate most normal cars.

With the run going to plan, the team may now set themselves a stiffer challenge - tackling the World Electric Vehicle record of 245mph.

Mr Wales later added: "I think the motor industry is slowly beginning to develop its own motors and they should be applauded for that.

"I think we need to get across to the public that electric cars are going to be part of the future."

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21 Sep 98 | UK
Bluebird falls short
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